Column: Why Democrats should settle for baby steps on gun control

Column: Why Democrats should settle for baby steps on gun control

A mourner visits the location where a gunman opened fire at a King Sooper’s grocery store in Boulder, Colo. Ten people were killed in the March 22 attack. Sometime this spring, in an attempt to do something — anything — on gun control, the U.S. Senate will revive a bill that would require people who buy guns from unlicensed dealers to undergo federal background checks, closing a gap often called the “gun show loophole.” If it passes, this exceedingly modest measure will make gun purchases a tiny bit harder for criminals, people with mental illness and others who shouldn’t be roaming our streets with firearms. The National Rifle Assn. will scream about an imaginary threat to the 2nd Amendment. And liberals who favor strict, European-style firearm controls will express disgust at the measure’s painfully narrow ambition. But as limited as the Senate proposal is, “it would be the most significant expansion of background checks in 28 years,” Jim Kessler of the centrist group Third Way, who has worked on gun legislation for decades, told me last week. And that’s why the battle to pass it is one worth having. Under current law, anyone who buys a firearm from a gun store or other licensed dealer must pass a federal background check, a process that normally takes less than two minutes. But in most states, people who buy guns from unlicensed dealers, including sellers who list their wares on the Internet, don’t need to pass a background check. A survey […]

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